Professor Emily Van Buskirk

crosslisted with Comparative Literature 01:195:348:01

In English. No prerequisites.

In this course we read stories that reflect experiences of Russian life, ranging from a happy childhood on an aristocratic estate to the suffering of a Soviet labor camp. When writing about their lives in autobiographies, memoirs, essays, or diaries, how do writers construct a self in the process of producing a text? How do they fashion a text that reflects the self? How do they select which experiences to represent or to omit? Where are the boundaries between fact and fiction? In readings that include a medieval monk's life and memoirs of the camps, as well as writings by some of Russia’s best known authors, we study the relationship between the individual and community, between personal life and dramatic historical events; between memory and invention; we explore the themes of childhood, first love, emigration, and confinement. We compare Russian non-fictions to fictional stories, in order to better understand important methods of artistic construction and interpretation. All readings and discussions are in English. There are no prerequisites. Fulfills SAS core goal WCd.